Wednesday, November 27, 2019

“History of hiking” is now 50% off!

Beginning today, and continuing through Christmas, the paperback version of my book, Ramble On: A History of Hiking, is available at 50% off the regular price. Hiking enthusiasts can purchase the book on Amazon right now for only $9.95 (regular price is $18.95).

Additionally, the Kindle e-book version of my book will be sold for just $4.99 beginning today, and will continue through Black Friday and Cyber Weekend. This special price will be offered for one week only, from November 27th through December 3rd.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking is an outstanding gift idea for anyone who loves hiking, and wishes to learn more about the rich and amazing history of one of the world’s top pastimes.

For more information on the book, and to purchase, please click here.

Thank you very much!

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Monday, November 25, 2019

Is June a good time to visit Glacier National Park?

Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but June is really a great time to visit Glacier National Park! Obviously July and August are by far the most popular months for visiting the park; however, if you wish to avoid the crowds, you may want to check-out the month of June. Sure, the Going-to-the-Sun Road likely won't be open all the way to Logan Pass until later in the month, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of things to do. In fact, all of the services outside of the park, as well as almost all of the concessioners within the park, will already be open.

So why visit in June? For one, June is an absolutely great time for observing wildflowers. Whitewater rafting is also at its best during this time period. Other popular activities include horseback riding, fly fishing, and as a result of far fewer motorists on park roads, June is also a great time for cycling. And there's nothing like taking a cruise on one of Glacier's lakes to soak in the splendid beauty of the snow-capped mountains. For more information on many of these activities and others, please visit our Thing To Do page.

Although the nights are still relatively cool, temperatures usually reach into the 70s during the day, which makes for nearly perfect hiking conditions. While trails in the higher elevations will still be closed due to snow, there are still a ton of great hiking opportunities around the park. Here are just a couple of suggestions (many of which are normally part of the June ranger-led hikes program - which, by the way, are free):

West Glacier / Lake McDonald Area:

* Avalanche Lake

* Apgar Lookout

* Johns Lake Loop

* Rocky Point Nature Trail

* Upper McDonald Creek Trail

St. Mary Area:

* Beaver Pond Loop

* St. Mary Area Waterfalls Hike

* Sun Point Nature Trail

* Virginia Falls

Many Glacier Area:

* Apikuni Falls

* Belly River Ranger Station

* Grinnell Lake

* Lake Josephine Loop

* Redrock Falls

* Swiftcurrent Lake Nature Trail

Two Medicine Area:

* Aster Park Overlook

* Rockwell Falls

* Running Eagle Falls

And in case you need one more reason to visit in June: rates on accommodations are much lower when compared to peak season! If you do plan to visit Glacier this June, or anytime throughout the year, please note that our hiking website also offers a wide variety of accommodation listings to help with all your vacation planning.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Turn Black Friday Into Fresh Air Friday With Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Reclaim Nov. 29 by avoiding the shopping hysteria and getting outside for a breath of fresh air! On Fresh Air Friday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife welcomes visitors to any of our 41 state parks by providing free entry in what has become an annual tradition of encouraging Coloradans to get out and give thanks.

“Studies have shown that spending time outside, no matter the activity, is great for your health,” said Dan Prenzlow, Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “We’re actively encouraging folks to enjoy their natural surroundings with family and friends rather than participate in the usual shopping frenzy. After all, the Colorado outdoors are the best deal out there.”

However you decide to get outdoors this Fresh Air Friday, CPW has the tools to make it an easy, stress-free experience for the whole family. Discover your new favorite state park with our state park finder, plan a short stroll or thorough post-Thanksgiving workout with our free COTREX trails app, find a secluded fishing spot with our CPW Fishing App, or have fun with the kids with Generation Wild’s 100 Things to Do Before You’re 12 list.

To help conserve our natural spaces and keep them wild while recreating, please be sure to follow Leave No Trace Principles. Be Colo-Ready with common-sense practices such as sticking to the trails and packing out all trash (including peels and cores), visiting less-visited and off-peak destinations, and keeping wildlife at a safe distance (use your zoom for photos and never feed wildlife!).

Several Colorado state parks will also have hikes planned for the day for those looking to walk off that Thanksgiving dinner and to connect with others in nature. Plan your visit to:

* Ridgway
* Chatfield
* Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
* Mueller
* Barr Lake

For more details on these activities, or to get more ideas on how to Live Life Outside, visit

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Friday, November 22, 2019

Young Gulch Trail Open; Grand Reopening Scheduled

After more than seven years, the Young Gulch Trail, located on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District in the Poudre Canyon, is back open to the public thanks to amazing volunteers and dedicated Forest Service staff.

The Young Gulch Trail was first impacted by the High Park Fire in 2012. Volunteers worked to get the trail reopened a year later only to have it even more dramatically impacted by the September 2013 Flood just days later. Most of the trail was washed away by these monumental rains.

Over the years many organizations, including Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, Poudre Wilderness Volunteers, Overland Mountain Bike Association, Colorado Addicted Trailbuilders Society and others, came together to design and reconstruct this incredibly popular trail in a more sustainable, resilient way. This includes reducing the number of stream crossings from 44 down to 26. In 2019 alone, volunteers provided 10,290 hours of their time and dedication for the final push to get the trail opened to the public before the end of the calendar year.

Along with Forest Service time and funding, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the National Forest Foundation, Great Outdoors Colorado, Overland Mountain Bike Association, REI, Odell Brewing, and Mishawaka Amphitheatre provided funding and in-kind donations over the last few years.

The Forest Service and our many partners will gather together for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Dec. 13, 2019, at 1 p.m. Everyone is invited to come celebrate this great achievement of teamwork and perseverance.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Thursday, November 21, 2019

“History of hiking” 50% off

As you're likely already aware, Black Friday is next week. As a result, I wanted to let you all know that my book will be on sale throughout the upcoming holiday season. Beginning today, and continuing through Christmas, the paperback version of Ramble On: A History of Hiking will be sold at 50% off the regular price. During this timeframe hiking enthusiasts will be able to purchase the book on Amazon for only $9.95 (regular price is $18.95).

Additionally, the Kindle e-book version of my book will be sold for just $4.99 on Black Friday and throughout Cyber Weekend. This special price will be offered for one week only, from November 27th through December 3rd.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking is an outstanding gift idea for anyone who loves hiking, and wishes to learn more about the rich and amazing history of one of the world’s top pastimes.

Thank you very much!

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Black-footed ferrets, North America's rarest mammal, released on private ranch as CPW works to rescue endangered species twice thought to be extinct

Fourteen endangered black-footed ferrets were released in a prairie dog colony on the Walker Ranch on Monday as part of a decades-long effort by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and other partners to restore the rarest mammal in North America.

The black-footed ferret is the only ferret species native to North America and twice was thought to be extinct due to habitat loss, widespread poisoning of prairie dog colonies and disease.

The last official record of a wild black-footed ferret in Colorado was near Buena Vista in 1943. Then in 1979, the last known black-footed ferret in captivity died, and the only ferret species native to the U.S. was believed to be lost. Since 1967, black-footed ferrets have been listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.

But in 1981, a small colony, or remnant population, of 129 ferrets was discovered on a ranch near Meeteetse, Wyo. This population, however, soon experienced significant declines due to canine distemper and sylvatic plague. So in 1986, the USFWS captured the remaining 18 wild ferrets for a captive breeding and species preservation program. Those ferrets became the seed population for all subsequent captive breeding and recovery efforts.

CPW joined forces with USFWS, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to restore black-footed ferrets to their native range. Today, Colorado is one of eight states involved with the recovery of the species through reintroduction.

Ferrets were first reintroduced to Colorado in 2001 at Wolf Creek, north of Rangely. After dozens were released over a several years, that site succumbed to a plague outbreak and collapsed by 2010.

An Eastern Plains reintroduction strategy began in 2013 with the release of 300 ferrets to six Colorado sites. In order to be released, individuals have to display their ability to survive in the wild. This training and preparation takes place at the National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center in Larimer County.

So far, 254 black-footed ferrets have been released on the private lands enrolled in the Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) program. Most were raised in captivity at special breeding facilities. The restoration of any threatened or endangered wildlife species is deemed successful when release animals begin reproducing on their own in the wild. Black-footed ferrets mate in early spring and give birth to a litter of three or four mouse-sized kits after a seven-week gestation period.

“Our goal is to create conditions where we have a self-sustaining population of ferrets and captive-born ferret releases are no longer necessary,” said Ed Schmal, CPW conservation biologist. “To do this, we need to maintain healthy prairie dog populations and implement annual plague management.”

CPW biologists can’t know for sure whether black-footed ferret reintroduction efforts can be deemed a “success.” But biologists found a hopeful sign with the first wild-born kit, or baby ferret, in 2015 and more after that.

Much of CPW’s current work focuses on plague management to ensure continued persistence of the ferrets and prairie dogs they rely on. Continued ferret reintroduction efforts seek to increase genetic diversity at each site.

On Monday, CPW released 10 juvenile and 4 adult ferrets into prairie dog burrows on the nearly 80,000-acre Walker Ranch outside Pueblo West. The ranch is owned by Gary and Georgia Walker, who are pioneers in creating safe harbors for ferrets on private land.

“Gary and Georgia were the first private landowners in Colorado to release black-footed ferrets,” Schmal said of the critical role played by the Walkers in hosting ferrets. “Their unwavering support for the recovery of this species is a testament to their conservation ethic and commitment to wildlife. We couldn’t do this work without cattle ranchers like the Walkers.”

Since 2013, 107 black-footed ferrets have been released on Walker Ranch by CPW biologists, who have invested extensive time and effort to monitor the colonies and distribute plague vaccine across the vast colonies in hopes of protecting the black-footed ferrets and the prairie dogs, which is their primary source of food and shelter.

For more information, visit these websites:

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Sunday, November 17, 2019

National Take a Hike Day

Did you know that today is “National Take a Hike Day”? Each year, on November 17th, National Take a Hike Day is observed by hikers across the country. Though the origins of this day seem to be a little murky, it appears that it may have been started by the American Hiking Society. Whenever and whoever started the day, hiking has its roots firmly planted in many of the same societal trends that shaped our country. According to the National Today website:
Hiking, while a major part of our culture today, wasn’t always the ubiquitous weekend warrior activity is today. Before Walden, Thoreau, and John Muir there was Romantic and Transcendentalism movement, art and cultural shifts to the natural order and time spent being outside. A reaction to the Industrial Revolution, train schedules, 90 hour work weeks and more.

The idea of taking a hike turned romantic and peaceful.
If you can’t actually make it onto a trail today, you can still download a copy of my book, “Ramble On: A History of Hiking,” to learn about the rich and amazing history of one of the world’s top pastimes, which will help to explain why today is now recognized as a "national holiday".

Happy Take a Hike Day!

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

National Park Service Announces Entrance Fee-Free Days for 2020

The National Park Service will have five entrance fee-free days in 2020. On each of these significant days of celebration or commemoration, all national parks will waive entrance fees.

The dates for 2020 are:

● Monday, January 20 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

● Saturday, April 18 – First Day of National Park Week/National Junior Ranger Day

● Tuesday, August 25 – National Park Service Birthday

● Saturday, September 26 – National Public Lands Day

● Wednesday, November 11 – Veterans Day

“Across the country, more than 400 national parks preserve significant natural and cultural areas, each one an important piece of our national identity and heritage,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela. “Free entrance days serve as additional motivation for people to get outside and enjoy these places of inspiration and recreation.”

Since their inception almost 150 years ago, national parks have protected resources and provided places for public health and enjoyment. With at least one site in every state, the National Park Service’s 419 parks, recreation areas, cultural sites, rivers, and trails are accessible destinations that supply benefits for overall physical and mental well being. Time spent in nature reduces stress and blood pressure and often leads to lifestyle choices that include more exercise and better nutrition. Paddling, bicycling, walking, fishing, star gazing, and camping are just some of the many memorable and healthful recreational activities available in national parks.

Veterans Day on November 11 is the only remaining fee-free day in 2019. Out of the 419 National Park Service sites, 110 charge an entrance fee, with costs ranging from $5 to $35. The other 309 national parks do not have entrance fees. The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation or special tours.

The annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks. There are also free or discounted passes available for senior citizens, active duty members of the U.S. military, families of fourth grade students, and disabled citizens.

Other federal land management agencies offering their own fee-free days in 2020 include the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Friday, November 8, 2019

Recruiting Cameron Pass Nordic Rangers for 2019/2020 Season

The Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the Roosevelt National Forest is looking for volunteers to ski or snowshoe this winter in the busy Cameron Pass area, where 32 miles of trail can see over 300 skiers a day on a weekend.

This popular area includes trails that border Highway 14 between Chambers Lake and Cameron Pass. The area receives enough snow to ski before many others and snow often remains after other areas have lost their snow cover. For this reason, the number of winter recreationists at Cameron Pass continues to grow.

Volunteers ski or snowshoe “with a purpose,” helping the Forest Service educate winter visitors and provide winter use statistics. To volunteer, participants take part in a minimum of four days patrolling and attend Forest Service-provided training. The kick-off meeting is Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at 2150 Centre Ave., Building E, in Fort Collins. The required classroom training is Dec. 12 from 6-9 p.m. and the required field training is Dec. 14 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, call Kristy Wumkes at 970-295-6721 or email

Along with a general introduction to the program, the kick-off also introduces potential new members to many of our partner-organizations, such as Jax Outdoor Gear and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and to some of the returning Nordic rangers.

The Cameron Pass Nordic Ranger program began in 1992. Volunteers assist the Forest Service by skiing or snowshoeing area trails to provide safety, trail, and low-impact backcountry use information to winter enthusiasts; help maintain area ski trails and trailheads for safety; and gather visitor use information to aid in Forest Service planning. Some of the Nordic rangers work as a winter trail crew to help keep the trails cleared of downed trees and limbs, install signs, and shovel paths to the restrooms. Last year these great volunteers provided more than 2,400 hours of service!

Many of the trails are in the Rawah and Neota Wilderness areas, where routes can be challenging. Backcountry skiing also includes risks inherent with winter conditions in the mountains, including extreme cold. These are some of the key reasons volunteers in the area are so valuable to its many users, especially those with little winter sports experience.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Rocky Mountain National Park Announces 2019 - 2020 Winter Pile Burning Operations

Fire managers from Rocky Mountain National Park plan to take advantage of any upcoming wet or winter weather conditions to burn piles of slash generated from several fuels reduction projects and hazard tree removals. Slash from these projects has been cut and piled by park fire crews and contractors during the last two years and are now dry enough to burn.

When fighting the Fern Lake Fire in 2012, firefighters were able to take advantage of previous and existing prescribed fire and hazardous fuels treatment areas that provided a buffer between the fire and the town of Estes Park. Prior hazard fuels projects were instrumental in stopping the fire from jumping Bear Lake Road.

Pile burning operations will only begin when conditions allow. The piles are in a variety of locations including near the Bierstadt Lake Trailhead, near the Moraine Park Discovery Center, south and west of Glacier Basin Campground, and near the Moraine Park Campground.

The fuels reduction projects are designed to reduce significant accumulations of forest fuels that can generate extreme or problematic fire behavior adjacent to urban interface. By reducing the potential fire behavior the wildland fire risk to firefighters and the public is significantly reduced. However, these projects are not designed as a stand-alone defense against wildfires nor are they guaranteed to hold a wildfire in the worst of conditions. Please do your part and complete wildfire mitigation on your property. To learn more about wildfire mitigation around your home visit

Safety factors, weather conditions, air quality and other environmental regulations are continually monitored as a part of any fire management operation. Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information see

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The National Park Service Salutes Military Veterans - Free Admission on Veterans Day

The National Park Service will commemorate Veterans Day on Monday, Nov. 11, with special events and free admission nationwide.

“In recognition of the bravery and patriotism of America’s military veterans, all national parks will waive entrance fees for visitors on Veterans Day,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “While visiting our national parks, I encourage all Americans to pause and reflect on the significance of the holiday and the freedoms we enjoy thanks to the courageous service of the men and women in our military.”

“We are grateful for the brave men and women who have answered the call to serve in the military,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela. “We invite all veterans to continue the long tradition of enjoying respite, recreation and relaxation in their national parks. From the peaceful quiet of watching wildlife to the thrill of whitewater rafting, parks are full of activities that refresh the body and soul.”

“We fought for this land, now it’s time to enjoy it,” said Adam Stump, a combat veteran who frequently visits national parks to hike and soak in the surroundings. “National parks provide amazing opportunities to appreciate the beauty and history of this country that we served to protect.”

Throughout the country, take advantage of the resources in 419 national parks to paddle, fish, hike, bike, swim, climb, explore or simply relax.

The National Park Service’s American Military website provides a list of events, as well as information about other military-related connections to national parks.

Veterans Day will be the last fee-free day in 2019. Active duty members of the military and permanently disabled veterans are also eligible for free year-round park passes. The passes provide free admission to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests and other federal recreational areas.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Changing Daylight Hours Means Wildlife on the Move

Today, November 3rd, marks the end of daylight saving time in Colorado. This means drivers will see dusk arriving earlier, and should be aware that wildlife movements are likely to conflict with rush hour traffic on highways statewide.

As the sunlight fades during our high-volume commutes, Colorado Parks and Wildlife asks the state’s drivers to be cautious in sharing our roads with wildlife. Autumn is peak seasonal mating and migration for many species, so drivers should stay alert and watch for wildlife as they begin to experience darker commutes.

“This time of year is tough for people and wildlife alike,” said District Wildlife Manager Tim Kroening. “People might know wildlife moves mainly between the dusk and dawn hours, but we don’t always connect that to our driving patterns. While your work hours stay the same, less daylight means more wildlife movement, which can increase the chances of a collision. Keep in mind, this is also the time of year when many of our big game species are moving to lower ground or actively mating, so it’s really important to keep your eyes out for wildlife on and near the roads in the fall.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation also advises motorists to stay vigilant, drive with caution and slow down, especially now that several snow storms have set in and have pushed wildlife from the high country into lower elevations.

“Big game like deer, elk and moose are on the move, making their way to terrain for which they can more easily find food and water,” said CDOT Wildlife Program Manager Jeff Peterson. “The seasonal movements of these animals can cause more wildlife-vehicle collisions.”

An effective measure which attempts to decrease the amount of wildlife-vehicle collisions in Colorado has been the construction of mitigation structures. CDOT has worked hand-in-hand with CPW to study, gather data and develop solutions on several highways across the state. One such project is located on I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock, where 12 trail cameras were set up along a 10-mile stretch of the interstate to determine the diversity of wildlife present and capture travel patterns.

“With the help of images captured from the cameras, CDOT and CPW analyzed locations along the corridor where wildlife collisions were highest. The team also documented wildlife movements, noting existing game trails, culverts, drainages and bridges. As a result of the study, CDOT will install four new wildlife crossings and more than 30 miles of deer fence as part of the I-25 South Gap project,” added Peterson.

Colorado has increasingly included mitigation structures over and under highways in construction projects to assist in wildlife crossing the highways, but motorists must remain attentive to their surroundings and pay close attention to wildlife on the move. CPW and CDOT offer several precautions that should be followed year-round, but especially around the change back to daylight standard time.

Ramble On: A History of Hiking